Rim Fire: Fire grows to 187,466 acres, may pose future threat to Bay Area water supply (map, photos)

Rim Fire Continues To Burn Near Yosemite National Park

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Smoke from the Rim Fire lingers over the O'Shaughnessy Dam at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir on August 24, 2013 in Yosemite National Park, California. The Rim Fire continues to burn out of control and threatens 4,500 homes outside of Yosemite National Park. Over 2,000 firefighters are battling the blaze that has entered a section of Yosemite National Park and has prompted California Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency for San Francisco due to damage to some of the lines and stations that move power to San Francisco. The Hetch Hetchy reservoir also had to take two of its three hydroelectric power stations out of service.

Rim Fire Burns Near Yosemite National Park

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Charred brush sits next to the Hetch Hetchy entrance to Yosemite National Park after the Rim Fire burned through on August 23, 2013 in Yosemite National Park, California. The Rim Fire continues to burn out of control and threatens 4,500 homes outside of Yosemite National Park.

A charred caution sign just outside of California's Yosemite National Park.

David McNew /Reuters/Landov

A charred caution sign just outside of California's Yosemite National Park.


The huge Rim Fire in and around California's Yosemite National Park hasn't yet caused problems at the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir that provides water to 2.6 million people in the Bay Area. There have been fears that falling ash will pollute the water there.

But now, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, "wildfire experts say problems for San Francisco's water agency may come later. Hetch Hetchy's pristine waters will be vulnerable to eroding hillsides as the fire leaves behind torched soil that can't absorb autumn rains and leveled forests that no longer anchor steep mountain slopes."

The fire grew to 187,466 acres as it burned into its 12th day. Containment inched up to 23 percent.

Several evacuation warnings were in place as of Wednesday morning and at least mandatory evacuation was ordered for residences north of Old Yosemite Road.  For full details, visit our Fire Tracker page

There's also word from KQED Wednesday morning that the flames are "perilously close to a longstanding experimental forest near Sonora. Losing it would be a setback for forestry and as fate would have it, fire management. For 80 years, the Stanislaus-Tuolumne Experimental Forest has been a trove of data for foresters."

KQED, meanwhile, has posted a graphic produced by the federal government's InciWeb that offers a colorful look at the Rim Fire's growth since the blaze broke out on Aug. 17.


View Rim Fire in a larger map | Last updated 8/26/13

With contributions by Mark Memmott and Brian Frank

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